What’s the Difference Between a Patient Care Tech vs Medical Assistant?

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You’ve decided you want to pursue a career in Allied Health – congratulations, this is a field with a number of great opportunities.  The next step is choosing a path within the field of allied health.  For many, they may be wondering, “how is one career path different from another?”  For example, what’s the difference between a Medical Assistant and a Patient Care Technician?  In today’s blog we’re talking about the differences between a Medical Assistant and a Patient Care Technician, specifically, in the type of work they do and where each of them work.

What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

Medical Assistants typically perform administrative and clinical duties as part of their role.  The specific duties may vary based on a number of factors, but here are some examples of tasks Medical Assistants may perform as part of their role:

  • Record information of patients such as health history and personal information
  • Take the vital signs of patients
  • Assist physicians with performing patient examinations, tests, and procedures
  • Administering injections
  • Scheduling patient appointments and performing administrative duties within a healthcare setting

What Does a Patient Care Technician Do?

Patient Care Technicians typically perform duties associated with providing direct patient care.  Patient Care Techs may work with patients of all ages.  The tasks/duties a Patient Care Technician will carry out will heavily depend upon the healthcare facility in which they work along with the patients they serve, however, here are some duties typically associated with being a Nurse Aide/Orderly (positions that can be filled by Patient Care Technicians:

  • Take the vital signs of patients
  • Assist patients with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, using the toilet, etc.
  • Help move, transfer, and/or reposition patients from one position to another
  • Assist patients with eating
  • Listen to patients and inform nurses of any concerns

As you can see, there are some similarities in terms of the tasks a Medical Assistant and a Patient Care Technician perform (for example, both take vital signs) however, a Patient Care Tech is much more hands-on in terms of providing direct patient care and is heavily involved in assisting their patients with daily activities (providing frequent and close care) whereas the Medical Assistant does not have these same responsibilities typically.

Where Does a Medical Assistant Work?

Medical Assistants can most often be found working in the following settings:

  • Doctors’ Offices
  • Clinics / Outpatient Care Centers
  • Hospitals

According to the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014, 59% of employed Medical Assistants worked in physicians’ offices. a

Where Does a Patient Care Technician Work?

Patient Care Technicians can be found working in a variety of healthcare settings, which may include:

  • Hospitals
  • Home Care
  • Long-Term Care / Nursing Care Facilities

Whereas Medical Assistants will typically be found working in the offices of physicians, Patient Care Technicians are rarely found working in physicians’ offices and will often be found working in a wider variety of healthcare settings.

Medical Assistant Training at Dorsey SchoolsWhat Does A Patient Care Technician Do?

The Medical Assistant diploma program at Dorsey Schools gives students the opportunity to learn a unique combination of specialized skills that are needed for employment in a medical office, clinic, hospital, or other healthcare facility.

Training in the Dorsey Schools Medical Assistant Program Includes:

  • Training in both administrative and clinical functions.
  • Clinical training that takes place on-campus at Dorsey Schools in the medical labs.
  • An externship with a physician’s office, long-term care facility, acute care setting, or other medical facility is included during the final module of training to allow students the opportunity to apply knowledge and skills learned throughout the program while gaining exposure to the field.
  • Upon completion of this program, graduates will be eligible to sit for a national Medical Assistant certification exam.
  • Dorsey Schools Medical Assistant program is programmatically accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) at the following campus locations: Dearborn, Farmington Hills, Madison Heights, Southgate, Roseville, Wayne, Waterford-Pontiac and Saginaw.

Patient Care Technician Training at Dorsey Schools

The Patient Care Technician diploma program at Dorsey Schools is designed to provide career training in a broad foundation of skills, geared towards preparing students for success in the healthcare field.  The responsibilities of a Patient Care Technician may include caring for injured, physically ill, mentally ill, and disabled patients in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living communities, physicians’ offices, long-term care or other medical facilities.

Training in the Dorsey Schools Patient Care Technician Program includes:

  • The opportunity to develop the skills that are necessary for providing quality patient care in a variety of medical settings.
  • Training in topics such as infection control, pharmacology, and procedures for administering medications.
  • Exposure to the concepts such as the structures of the body, common diseases, treatments, and laboratory tests and coverage of medical terminology.
  • An externship with a local hospital, physician’s office, long-term care facility, acute care setting, or other medical facility that will take place during the last module of training to provide experience in a medical facility as well as professional exposure.

If you’d like to learn more about the medical training programs for careers in healthcare offered at Dorsey Schools you may give us a call at 888-422-1188 or request info online.

Medical Assistant Program – Gainful Employment Disclosures

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who have completed the program, and other important information, please click here.

Patient Care Technician Program – Gainful Employment Disclosures

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who have completed the program, and other important information, please click here.

Sources:

a Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Medical Assistants, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm (visited April 24, 2016).

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Nursing Assistants and Orderlies, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nursing-assistants.htm (visited April 24, 2016).

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